Start Farming Blog
This new resource for organic producers features case studies of successful organic enterprises along with details on organic farming practices.
A group of Penn State Extension educators are working closely with specialty crop producers across the state on a “Models for the Future” demonstration plot project. Plots are designed to showcase best management practices for producers in the establishing years of developing their farm enterprises.
Starting up a new vegetable farm requires a lot of planning.
Employers must often keep up with a variety of required government posters at their orchards, farms, or other places of business which can be daunting at times. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Labor changed two posters that employers are required to post in the workplace.
New Morning Farm is a certified organic diversified vegetable farm on 95 acres of land in Hustontown in southern Huntingdon County. Of the 95 acres, 30-45 are in vegetable production. Jim Crawford has been farming here for 40 years and farmed in another location for the five years before that. His farming career sprung out of being a serious gardener. We had the opportunity to spend a morning with Jim and senior apprentice Jennifer Glenister.
Harvesting apples at the optimum stage of maturity increases fruit flavor and firmness and reduces the potential for decay. Begin sampling fruit for maturity assessments several weeks before normal harvest is anticipated.
The Rural Economic Development Clinic at Penn State Law is now accepting clients for the fall semester. The clinic provides food and agriculture businesses with free legal services on a variety of legal issues.
The Penn State Tree Fruit Extension team is launching a series of videos available on the Start Farming Extension page. These ‘Learn Now’ videos provide information on numerous subject areas of interest to beginning growers in ten minutes or less.
Sheep that receive optimal nutrition are more likely to perform at higher levels than sheep that receive less than optimal nutrition. Of course, on the flip side we can certainly expect sheep that receive maximum nutrition to perform at very high levels.
A three-part video series on best practices for post-harvest washing of fresh produce, including proper use of sanitizers in wash water, is now available on the Penn State Extension site.
As our drought continues expect to see an increase in Blossom End Rot (BER) on peppers, tomatoes, squash, watermelon, and cantaloupes.
On July 20, 2016 we visited with Micah and Bethany Spicher Schonberg and Gabby Bedeian at Plowshare Produce, a certified organic farm located in McAlevys Fort in Huntingdon County. Micah and Bethany rent the 2.5 acres they farm from Bethany’s parents who own 50-60 acres.
Grassy weeds often infest fields. Management practices for grassy weeds vary depending on which grassy weed you are trying to control.
This article was originally published in "Passages", the journal of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Ag, and highlights the fiscal sustainability of farms by providing an overview of crop insurance, conservation and risk management programs available through the USDA.
In late 2015 the Environmental Protection Agency issued the long awaited revision to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS). Although it is now technically active it will not be enforced until 2017 but the original WPS will still be enforced until the end of 2016. Please keep in mind that the WPS covers both restricted use AND general use pesticides. This article will deal with the highlights to the revision but also some areas of the current WPS that need emphasized.
A growing percentage of consumers are very interested in understanding how and where food comes from. This trend is a cue to farm and other agricultural producers to prepare to answer questions from customer about production practices.
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) have been renamed and are now referred to as Safety Data Sheets (SDS). According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Hazard Communication Standard requires the new format starting on June 1, 2016. One of the primary reasons for the change is that OSHA requires all SDSs to use a standard format.
Although it is tempting to open the paddock gates and let livestock graze where and what they can find, maintaining a managed grazing system and keeping animals off scorched forages can be the key to healthy pastures in the fall and next spring.
A Penn State Extension project called "Supporting Pennsylvania New Farmers in the Start-up, Re-strategizing, and Establishing Years" aims to increase the success of beginning farmers, specifically growers in year two to ten of establishing their businesses. A key component of the project is the “Models for the Future” on-farm demonstration plots.
Downy mildew has most recently been confirmed on cucumber in Michigan, Delaware and New Jersey in addition to the reports last week from Ohio and North Carolina.